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Bee Plants

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Bee Plants

Honeybees and their many relatives make life sweet for us. Without bees many of our favorite foods and flowers would not be available. From apples to ornamentals to zuchinni, we rely on bees for pollination. According to the USDA, one-third of our diet is made possible by insect pollinators, and approximately 80 percent of that pollination is due to bees. By planting long blooming, drought-resistant Salvias and other flowering plants favored by honeybees and other species of the family Apidae, home gardeners can provide the nectar and pollen that these tiny pollinators need to survive.

Drought is causing shortages of many flowering plants on which bees survive. Food loss, both through drought and climate change, is one of many factors that bee researchers say is likely contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious malady that weakens honeybees and causes their destruction. The Natural Resources Defense Council notes that bee researchers began documenting this problem in America around 2006.

The Häagen-Daz Honey Bee Haven of the University of California, Davis, in July 2014 reported that "few plants show their value as bee plants for hot, dry gardens better than the salvias." UC Davis even includes red-flowering species among its bee favorites, although some bee researchers say that bees mostly can't see reds.

Many factors affect the predilections of honeybees, including markings on flowers -- sometimes called "beelines" -- that guide bees to the pollen and nectar they need. Unlike humans who can't see colors in the ultra-violet range, bees see UV colors including markings invisible to people but acting like lit-up runways for insects. Perhaps this characteristic enables them to access red flowers.

This list offers honeybee favorites in many colors grown at Flowers by the Sea.

Plants


  • Salvia microphylla var. neurepia

    (Big Leaf Mountain Sage) Nothing is little about this plant even though "microphylla" means "little leaf." The rough, wrinkly leaves are often 3 inches long and almost 2 inches wide. The pinkish-orange flowers are also large and bloom spring to fall.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia munzii

    (Munz's Sage) Densely branched and extremely fragrant, this drought-resistant shrub is named for botanist Philip Munz (1892-1974) of Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and Pomona College. It is native to northern Baja California and the coastal mountains of San Diego.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Blau Hügel'

    (Blau Hügel Meadow Sage) When in bloom, petite Salvia nemorosa 'Blue Hill' more than doubles in height. Its tall, spike-like racemes of violet-blue flowers are so dense and compact that this woodland sage is sometimes called "Blue Mound."

    9.00
     


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles'

    (Burgundy Candles Meadow Sage) When the burgundy buds of Salvia nemorosa 'Burgundy Candles' open, deep violet-blue flowers emerge. They are supported by burgundy and green bracts on purple stems.

    9.50
     


  • Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical Silvertone'

    (Lyrical Silvertone Meadow Sage) European Meadow Sages are known for their intense color. However, Salvia nemorosa 'Lyrical Silvertone' is exceptional for its violet-blue and silver two-tone flowers supported by dark calyxes.

    9.50
     


  • Salvia pitcheri grandiflora

    (Big Pitcher Sage) As its scientific name indicates, this sage has very large flowers. They are almost two-tone, changing from deep violet to a light blue or white at their base where they are cupped by dusky purple calyxes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia praeclara

    (Bolivian Sage) From early Spring to first frost, brilliant scarlet flowers on spikes up to 18 inches long adorn this Bolivian native in USDA Zones 9 to 11. Even if you live in a zone with colder winters, Bolivian Sage is spectacular as a bedding plant. has been called Salvia coccinea on steroids due to its .  needs rich, well-drained soil and full sun - but will grow in a wide range of soil, water and light conditions.

    8.00
     


  • Salvia pratensis 'Indigo'

    (Indigo Meadow Sage) When massed, this European sage compels attention during summer with its upright, foot-long spikes of deep violet-blue flowers and hairy, gray-green, basal foliage.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia pratensis 'Lapis Lazuli'

    (Lapis Lazuli Meadow Sage) Ethereal, lilac-pink, parrot-shaped blossoms abound on the tall flower spikes of this Salvia pratensis cultivar. So don’t expect a blue as the name indicates, but do expect great beauty during summer bloom time.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia pseudococcinea

    (False Tropical Sage) Sometimes plant naming is complicated. Such is the case with Salvia pseudococcinea, which is known by a number of scientific and common names. Sometimes it is called Salvia coccinea var. pseudococcinea.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia Raspberry Delight®

    (Raspberry Delight Sage) Dark raspberry-red flowers, burgundy stems and calyxes and deep green foliage make this one of our most attention-grabbing varieties.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia reptans

    (West Texas Grass Sage) Small clusters of true blue flowers are spaced widely along the grass-like stems of this airy West Texas mountain sage. Like so many American native plants, it is a key food source for honeybees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia reptans 'Autumn Sapphire'

    (Autumn Sapphire West Texas Grass Sage) Butterflies and honeybees particularly favor this West Texas mountain native. In contrast to the true blue flowers of regular Salvia reptans, this cultivar has deep blue blossoms and is remarkably compact.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia reptans 'Summer Skies'

    (Summer Skies West Texas Grass Sage) Butterflies and honeybees particularly favor this West Texas mountain native. In contrast to the true blue flowers of regular Salvia reptans, this cultivar has purple blossoms with cloud-like, lavender-to-white throats.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia sclarea 'Wild Form'

    (Clary or Clear Eye Sage or Eyebright) Pink-purple bracts and violet-purple flowers form a pastel cloud over the large, rumpled leaves of Clary Sage in summer. It is a towering beauty growing up to 5 feet tall. Sacred to some due to age-old use in herbal remedies, it is heavenly to look at.

    9.50
     


  • Salvia sclarea var turkestanica 'Piemont'

    (Italian Clary Sage) Clary Sages are well known for their use in folk remedies, aromatherapy and cosmetics. Glowing purple bracts frame the spectacular white blooms of this cultivar on 5-foot-tall spikes. It is a delight for honeybees, hummingbirds and butterflies.

    9.00
     


  • Salvia semiatrata

    (Pine Mountain Sage) Small but numerous, violet and deep purple flowers surrounded by pink bracts are sprinkled throughout this well-branched,shrubby sage like confections. This is one of the showiest Salvias we grow.

    11.50
     


  • Salvia stepposa

    (Siberian Sage) Deep violet flowers surrounded by burgundy bracts form a handsome contrast with the pebbly, mint green foliage of this drought-resistant sage. It comes from the Central Asian steppe, which is similar in climate and geography to America’s high plains.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia taraxacifolia

    (Dandelion Leaf Sage) Brush or bruise the basal foliage of this Moroccan Salvia and it exudes a citrusy fragrance. Petite and heat tolerant, this is a sturdy, adaptable groundcover.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia transsylvanica

    (Romanian Sage) Here's a great selection for mixed Salvia borders in zones with colder winters. This herbaceous perennial features deep violet flowers in large whorls atop tall, branched spikes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia verticillata

    (Lilac Sage) We try not to brag too much, but this is our own variety of Salvia verticillata from home-grown seed, and we think it is spectacular. Butterflies and honeybees also are in love with this long-blooming perennial beauty.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia VIBE 'Ignition Purple'

    (Salvia VIBE®'Ignition Purple') Purple once was a color reserved for royalty. Salvia VIBE® 'Ignition Purple' has deep royal purple flowers that are rare in a Jame Sage hybrid.  They bloom spring to fall for your enjoyment.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Allen Chickering'

    (Allen Chickering Sage) Whorls of tiny violet flowers punctuate the stems of this sage's fragrant, gray-green foliage. It is a hybrid of Salvia clevelandii and Salvia leucophylla.
    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Bee's Bliss'

    (Bee's Bliss Sage) If you are looking for a California native sage to use as a groundcover, Bee's Bliss is a fine choice. Low-growing, widespreading and colorful, it is ideal for choking weeds.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Celestial Blue'

    (Celestial Blue Sage) Fast growing and adaptable, this sage is a chance hybrid between Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) -- also called California Blue Sage -- and California Rose Sage (Salvia pachyphylla). It may also be related to California Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla).

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Christine Yeo'

    (Christine Yeo Sage) A chance hybrid of two Mexican sages --Salvia microphylla and S. chamaedryoides -- Christine Yeo Sage is long blooming and features deep purple flowers with white eyes.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Bella Rosa'

    (Elk Bella Rosa Jame Sage) The large, creamy pink and burgundy flowers of this sage are stately in contrast with its deep green, veined, ovate foliage that is pleasantly fragrant. Elk Bella Rosa is as elegant as its name implies. It's also long blooming.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Blue Moon II'

    (Elk Blue Moon II Jame Sage) The phrase "blue moon" signifies a rare event. Elk Blue Moon Jame Sage is an unusual combination for a Salvia x jamensis hybrid -- dusky violet flowers with pale-blue throats, dark blue calyxes and mid-green foliage.

    Note:  This is a new (2014) cultivar that we chose to replace the original 'Elk Blue Moon'.  It is a superior grower, and otherwise very similar.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Bright Eyes'

    (Elk Bright Eyes Sage) Dark green and red calyxes support the raspberry-red flowers of Salvia x 'Elk Bright Eyes'. The pink throats of the blossoms are topped with white beelines, or eyes.  This is a unique and eyecatching color.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Buttercup'

    (Elk Buttercup Jame Sage) Red flower buds unfurl into the surprisingly buttery yellow blossoms of Elk Buttercup. Subtly bicolored, the flowers have touches of light pink including fine hairs on the upper lip.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Chantily Lace'

    (Elk Chantily Lace Jame Sage) What color are the flowers of this FBTS introduction?  Lavender? Periwinkle? Taffy?  Yes to all for this hard to describe but easy to love plant.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Cotton Candy'

    (Elk Cotton Candy Jame Sage) Rosy hairs on the upper lip and pale white throats highlight the translucent, blush pink blossoms of Elk Cotton Candy Jame Sage. Dark, deeply contrasting calyxes support the medium-size flowers.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Crimson King'

    (Elk Crimson King Jame Sage) Sometimes words fail us when trying to describe a unique new color. Definitely red, but with a clear blue overlay and a blue eye. Featuring masses of flowers that delight pollinators, this FBTS introduction is new for 2017.

    10.50
     


    New!
  • Salvia x 'Elk Lemon Light'

    (Elk Lemon Light Jame Sage) We are proud to offer this luminescent, pure yellow Salvia x jamensis -- a color breakthrough from our own breeding program. The bright, light blossoms cool the landscape similar to white flowers, but with colorful impact.  The glossy green leaves are quite small - a very attractive and distinctive characteristic.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Lush Lavender'

    (Elk Lush Lavender Jame Sage) Pale white accents mark the throats of this sage's large, rich lavender flowers. In contrast, the calyxes cupping the blossoms are a dark blue-green. Overall, the look is serene.

    10.50
     


  • Salvia x 'Elk Peach Flambe'

    (Elk Peach Flambe Sage) Pale pink-to-peach edges surround the petals of Salvia x 'Elk Peach Flambe' like hints of petticoats. The deep maroon calyxes holding the flowers add drama to this small sage.

    10.50
     


    New!


Take a Quick Look at a group of Salvias
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Reviews


Having recently received Cayman, I haven't yet seen it in bloom but am delighted to give a home to a plant that was on the brink of extinction. Since it may be short-lived, I'll keep it in a pot and try leaf cuttings in the winter. I like this com...
Ms. Robin Hoselton
Jun 3, 2017